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Tradition and Rhetoric
In 1927 C.A.A. Scott, while commenting on the apostle Paul's Christology, remarked that the "history of the word Glory in the Bible has yet to be written." By using methodology developed in semantics, semiotics, and, more generally, literary theory, Newman examines the origin and rhetoric of Paul's Glory-Christology.
The investigation involves three distinct tasks: (1) to plot the tradition-history of Glory which formed part of Paul's linguistic world, (2) to examine Paul's letter, in light of the reconstructed tradition-history of Glory, in order to discern the rationale of Paul's identification of Christ as Glory and, (3) to map out the implications of such an identification for Paul's theological and rhetorical strategy.
On the basis of this study, four conclusions are reached for understanding Paul. First, Paul inherited a symbolic universe with signs already "full" of signification. Second, knowing the (diachronically acquired) connotative range of a "surface" symbol (e.g. Glory) aids in discerning Paul's precise contingent strategy. Third, knowing the "surface" symbol's referential power defines and contributes to the "deeper structure" of Paul's theological grammar. Finally, the heuristic power within the construals of the Glory tradition coalesce in Paul's Christophany and thus provide coherence at the "deepest" level of Paul's Christology.